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Software License

Objective    9/20/2017

Software Licensing documentation.

A software license is a legal instrument   9/20/2017

from Wikipedia

A software license is a legal instrument (usually by way of contract law, with or without printed material) governing the use or redistribution of software. Under United States copyright law all software is copyright protected, in source code as also object code form. The only exception is software in the public domain.

A typical software license grants the licensee, typically an end-user, permission to use one or more copies of software in ways where such a use would otherwise potentially constitute copyright infringement of the software owner's exclusive rights under copyright law.


Comparison of free and open-source Software Licenses    9/20/2017

Comparison of free and open-source Software Licenses

FOSS licenses - stands for "Free and Open Source Software". There is no one universally agreed-upon definition of FOSS software and various groups maintain approved lists of licenses.

The Open Source Initiative is one such organization keeping a list of open-source licenses. The Free Software Foundation maintains a list of what it considers free.

FSF's free software and OSI's open-source licenses together are called FOSS licenses. Due to some seldom conflicting cornercases technically not synonymous, for all practical considerations they are identical and widely used interchangeably.

The FSF's Free Software definition focuses on the user's unrestricted rights to use a program, to study and modify it, to copy it, and redistribute it for any purpose, which are considered by the FSF the four essential freedoms. The OSI's open-source criteria focuses on the availability of the source code and the advantages of an unrestricted and community driven development model.

Free and open-source (FOSS) Software Licenses    9/20/2017

Wikipedia Free and open-source (FOSS) Software Licenses

A software license is a legal instrument (usually by way of contract law, with or without printed material) governing the use or redistribution of software. Under United States copyright law all software is copyright protected, in source code as also object code form. The only exception is software in the public domain.

A typical software license grants the licensee, typically an end-user, permission to use one or more copies of software in ways where such a use would otherwise potentially constitute copyright infringement of the software owner's exclusive rights under copyright law. There are several organizations in the FOSS domain who give out guidelines and definitions regarding software licenses.

Free Software Foundation maintains non-exhaustive lists of software licenses following their The Free Software Definition and licenses which the FSF considers non-free for various reasons. The FSF distinguishes additionally between free software licenses that are compatible or incompatible with the FSF license of choice, the copyleft GNU General Public License.

The Open Source Initiative defines a list of certified open-source licenses following their The Open Source Definition. Also the Debian project has a list of licenses which follow their Debian Free Software Guidelines.

Free and open-source licenses are commonly classified into two categories: Those with the aim to have minimal requirements about how the software can be redistributed (permissive licenses), and the protective share-alike (copyleft Licenses).

An example of a copyleft free software license is the often used GNU General Public License (GPL), also the first copyleft license. This license is aimed at giving and protecting all users unlimited freedom to use, study, and privately modify the software, and if the user adheres to the terms and conditions of the GPL, freedom to redistribute the software or any modifications to it. For instance, any modifications made and redistributed by the end-user must include the source code for these, and the license of any derivative work must not put any additional restrictions beyond what the GPL allows.

Examples of permissive free software licenses are the BSD license and the MIT license, which give unlimited permission to use, study, and privately modify the software, and includes only minimal requirements on redistribution. This gives a user the permission to take the code and use it as part of closed-source software or software released under a proprietary software license. It was under debate some time if Public domain software and Public domain like licenses can be considered as a kind of FOSS license. Around 2004 lawyer Lawrence Rosen argued in the essay "Why the public domain isn't a license" software could not truly be waived into public domain and can't therefore be interpreted as very permissive FOSS license, a position which faced opposition by Daniel J. Bernstein and others.

In 2012 the dispute was finally resolved when Rosen accepted the CC0 as open source license, while admitting that contrary to his previous claims copyright can be waived away, backed by Ninth circuit decisions.

Free Software Foundation   9/20/2017

Wikipedia Free Software Foundation

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded by Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 to support the free software movement, which promotes the universal freedom to study, distribute, create, and modify computer software, with the organization's preference for software being distributed under copyleft ("share alike") terms, such as with its own GNU General Public License.

The FSF was incorporated in Massachusetts, USA, where it is also based. From its founding until the mid-1990s, FSF's funds were mostly used to employ software developers to write free software for the GNU Project. Since the mid-1990s, the FSF's employees and volunteers have mostly worked on legal and structural issues for the free software movement and the free software community. Consistent with its goals, only free software is used on the FSF's computers.

GNU General Public License   9/20/2017

Wikipedia GNU General Public License

The GNU General Public License (GNU GPL or GPL) is a widely used free software license, which guarantees end users (individuals, organizations, companies) the freedoms to run, study, share (copy), and modify the software. Software that allows these rights is called free software and, if the software is copylefted, requires those rights to be retained. The GPL demands both.

The license was originally written by Richard Stallman of the Free Software Foundation (FSF) for the GNU Project. In other words, the GPL grants the recipients of a computer program the rights of the Free Software Definition and uses copyleft to ensure the freedoms are preserved whenever the work is distributed, even when the work is changed or added to. The GPL is a copyleft license, which means that derived works can only be distributed under the same license terms. This is in distinction to permissive free software licenses, of which the BSD licenses and the MIT License are the standard examples.

GPL was the first copyleft license for general use. Prominent free software programs licensed under the GPL include the Linux kernel and the GNU Compiler Collection ( GCC). Some other free software programs (MySQL is a prominent example) are dual-licensed under multiple licenses, often with one of the licenses being the GPL. Historically, the GPL license family has been one of the most popular software licenses in the FOSS domain.

David A. Wheeler argues that the copyleft provided by the GPL was crucial to the success of Linux-based systems, giving the programmers who contributed to the kernel the assurance that their work would benefit the whole world and remain free, rather than being exploited by software companies that would not have to give anything back to the community.

On 29 June 2007, the third version of the license (GNU GPLv3) was released to address some perceived problems with the second version (GNU GPLv2) that were discovered during its long-time usage. To keep the license up to date, the GPL license includes an optional "any later version" clause, allowing users to choose between the original terms or the terms in new versions as updated by the FSF. Developers can omit it when licensing their software; for instance the Linux kernel is licensed under GPLv2 without the "any later version" clause.

The MIT License   9/20/2017

from Wikipedia

The MIT License is a free software license originating at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). It is a permissive free software license, meaning that it puts only very limited restriction on reuse and has therefore an excellent license compatibility. The MIT license permits reuse within proprietary software provided all copies of the licensed software include a copy of the MIT License terms and the copyright notice.

The MIT license is also compatible with many copyleft licenses, such as the GPL; MIT licensed software can be integrated into GPL software, but not the other way around. While the MIT license was always an important and often used license in the FOSS domain, in 2015 according to Black Duck Software and GitHub data, it became the most popular license ahead of GPL variants and other FOSS licenses.

Notable software packages that use one of the versions of the MIT License include Expat, the Mono development platform class libraries, Ruby on Rails, Node.js, jQuery and the X Window System, for which the license was written.

Open Source and Open Source Licensing for Commercial Software    9/20/2017

Open Source and Open Source Licensing for commercial software

This page shows you why you should carefully consider using open source software in commercial software: Advantages and disadvantages of open source usage, why open source is used in commercial software and how to manage and control open source usage.

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This page was last updated October 14th, 2017 by kim

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